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Panasonic G5 vs GF3

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and June 2011. Both the G5 and the GF3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G5 has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the GF3 provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G5   Panasonic GF3
Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 160-12800 ISO 160-6400
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
6 shutter flaps per second 3.2 shutter flaps per second
320 shots per battery charge300 shots per battery charge
120 x 83 x 71 mm, 396 g 108 x 67 x 32 mm, 264 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G5 and the Panasonic GF3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G5 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the GF3 is available in five color-versions (black, brown, pink, red, white).

Size Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic GF3
Compare G5 versus GF3 top
Comparison G5 or GF3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF3 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Panasonic G5. Moreover, the GF3 is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the G5. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5 nor the GF3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the G5 gets 320 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 battery, while the GF3 can take 300 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLE9 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G5» 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Olympus E-PL6« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« » 4.4 in 2.5 in 1.5 in 11.5 oz 360 n Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
 
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The GF3 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the G5 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic G5 and Panasonic GF3 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the GF3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.33μm for the GF3). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the GF3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Panasonic G5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.3 inch or 58.5 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.8 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 11.5 inch or 39 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF3 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

G5 versus GF3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G5» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
 
Olympus E-PL6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388972Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----Panasonic G7
 
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G5 provides a higher frame rate than the GF3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the GF3 is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G5 and Panasonic GF3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G5»1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3«- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
 
Olympus E-PL6« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »- n 3.0 460 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 n Y Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G7
 
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
The G5 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GF3 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G5 and the GF3 write their files to SDXC cards. The G5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G5»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3«-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
 
Olympus E-PL6« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic G7« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G7
 
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF5« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic G3« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic GX1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2

It is notable that the G5 has a hotshoe, while the GF3 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the G5 and the GF3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF3 was replaced by the Panasonic GF5, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.


Review summary: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G5 and the Panasonic GF3? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the GF3).


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:

  • More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 120x83mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 132g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G5 is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G5 10:03 GF3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G5 and the Panasonic GF3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G5 and the GF3 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Panasonic G5 vs GF3

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G5»+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3«82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Olympus E-PL6« »----- May 2013 599- i Olympus E-PL6
 
Olympus E-PL5« »+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599- i Olympus E-PL5
 
Panasonic G7« »+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i Panasonic G7
 
Panasonic G6« »+ +-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »+ +-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i Panasonic GF5
 
Panasonic G3« »+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic GX1« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Panasonic G5:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic GF3:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G5 vs Panasonic GF3

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 549
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.9 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4608 x 3456 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.76 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 7.08 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 160-12800 ISO 160-6400 ISO
    Image Processor Venus VII FHD Venus FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 458
    Screen Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder No viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 3.2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic G5 Panasonic GF3
    Battery Type DMW-BLC12 power pack DMW-BLE9 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 120 x 83 x 71 mm
    (4.7 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
    108 x 67 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 396 g (14.0 oz) 264 g (9.3 oz)

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